Yesterday’s round at Hidden Valley with my dad was glorious. 8:15am, long shadows, cool air, beautiful course. The greens were as smooth and fast as they’ve been all year. In fact, the speed was so much faster than I’m used to I gagged away three shots in the first few holes while trying to adjust. One was a 3-footer which I sent six feet by and two others were 3-putts for bogey when birdie was looking possible.
Once I adjusted to the speed I started making putts and on the 10th, saw a 20 foot birdie putt roll in with the purest and straightest roll I’ve ever seen come off my putter. There is nothing better than putting on smooth and fast greens.
I shot +3 on the front. I had it down to +1 after going -2 on the back for a while but gave up one coming home. A fantastic and near impossible up-and-down on the 18th gave me a final score of 74.
The new swing didn’t work perfectly. I had some timing issues and a few pulls and pushes. But the shots were still controlled and not wild at all. The worst scores I carded were a four bogeys. The new swing took double out of the equation.
I’m working on a small tweak to my swing which will hopefully increase accuracy and eliminate my ever famous “granny” move. While playing my 18 hole league Tuesday, my pal and golf pro Guy and I discussed shortening my swing. I tried a few swings and he told me that those were the best swings and most on plane he’s seen me make.
I played an extra nine holes after the original 18, and carded a little 32 on that side. I even missed a birdie putt of about 3-4 feet.
I’m playing around with my dad today at the nicest club in town. I plan on hitting the range for a few before the round to groove the 3/4 backswing anti-granny move version of my swing a bit.
A report will follow.
I couldn’t have imagined that starting a golf blog in 2004 would result in my attending the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open and staying at the beautiful Gran Melia Resort in Puerto Rico six years later. But that’s one of many great events which has occurred as a result of being the web’s #1 golf web geek.
Location Location Location
Let’s start with Gran Melia’s location, Puerto Rico. This was my first time there and I loved it. The weather was rainy the first day or so, but even then it was beautiful. The resort is located in the city of Rio Grande, about a 30 minute drive from the Puerto Rico airport and from the most well known PR city of San Juan.
The resort sits on Coco Beach in the northeastern coast, where the water is very calm and shallow.
100 degree temperatures. 4200 above sea level. No moisture in the air. The back is loose. The ball striking is pretty good. Bridgestone B330-RX golf balls.
These are all reasons why the ball is FLYING right now. Every summer I have to readjust my yardages. “Summer yardages” are now in effect.
During Saturday’s Sandy Amateur, which I had great ball striking except for three swings, I had all sorts of trouble with yardages. I hit a gap wedge with no wind with no elevation change, about 150 yards. I was hitting my sand wedge about 130 yards. On the 1st hole (my 9th because it was a shotgun start), I hit my 6-iron onto the green from 200 yards and made an eagle putt from about 12 feet. That was the highlight of the day. The lowlights are that the ball was going so far I was flying over greens. On the 5th hole I had 135 to the back pin. I flew my gap wedge to pin high, it bounced off the green into the hazard behind it. Blech.
League play is today, and the temps will be 95-98. I’ll be using summer yardages today for sure.
Practice round for the Sandy Amateur this Saturday
Today I left the blogging and hit the course at 9:30am. The course was closed due to a tournament though so I came back later and tee’d off with some buddies at 1pm. I chose to play the black (tips) tees, though my league play/scores have dictated that I play from the blues. I chose the blacks because that is where the tournament will be played from.
On the 2nd hole a huge downpour hit us. I quickly smacked my ball with my putter on the front fringe during the downpour and the ball went in. I was about 50 feet away. After that hole we went into the cart barn for a few minutes. Following that I made some solid shots on the front for a decent opening nine. All of this was with a Maxfli golf ball I’d found in the bushes. It was very soft and the model was blacked out by someone’s mark. After I rubbed off the mark, the ball just said “Tour” on it. So it was a Maxfli Tour golf ball.
On #10 I hit my 3-iron off the tee. This is the latest change in my bag, as my ball striking has gotten better, but the hybrids have not. So the 23 degree hyb is out and the 3i is in. #10 is 403 yards from the tips. My approach was 127 to the front pin. Needless to say, that was a solid long iron. I really have missed that feeling and I’m glad to start finding it again. My gap wedge was pin high left at about six feet. Birdie.
Par on 11 and a great up and down on 12 for par brought me into #13. 13 is a par-5 with an elevated tee. I hit a solid drive but my 5-iron 2nd shot leaked right into a very densely grown in hazard. I managed to find the ball and hacked it out to about five feet and made birdie. I made birdie on #14, a short par-4, after hitting a nice checking 50 yard lob to about eight feet under the hole.
The rest of the nine had some solid shots and pars. The only “bad” shot on the back was that 2nd shot on #13, which I was able to recover from. -3 on the back side for a total of 69.
After some very mediocre golf and horrible ball striking the last few weeks, why now? Today was practically the first day this year I felt some real clubhead speed. Today was the first day I’ve felt like I could swing free without any restrictions, pain, stiffness.
The difference? Could be a couple of things. Yesterday I got a massage, full body. The masseuse found knots in places I didn’t know there could be knots, like my shins. Lots of knots in my back and neck were relieved. I even had her work on my golfer’s elbow. The temperature could be part of it too. 92 degrees. I’m more loose and less stiff in the heat. The 3rd possibility is a supplement I’m trying which is supposed to relieve joint stiffness.
Whichever of these reasons, or even all of them combined, has brought me some positive thoughts about my game. This year has been mostly bad and frustrating as my scores have ballooned and my handicap crept up. I hope that today was the breakthrough which will free me to play some great golf for the rest of the season.